Weight Loss and Mental Health

By Alex Concepcion  

At Blossom Bariatrics, we know your weight loss journey is uniquely intertwined with mental health. Shedding weight after bariatric surgery is a challenge you must undertake both mentally and physically. Knowing what to expect beforehand can help you develop the positive outlook you need for the dietary changes and lifestyle adjustments ahead. 

Preparing for brain chemistry changes after bariatric surgery 

You are likely to experience hormonal fluctuations during the first weeks after your procedure. Anticipating sudden mood swings in these early weeks can help you take them in stride. 

Your new post-surgery diet may also have an impact on your brain chemistry. After your procedure, your dietary guidelines will prioritize protein as well as eliminate sugars and refined carbohydrates

Before weight-loss surgery, carbs may have been a go-to coping technique on a particularly stressful or difficult day. These comfort foods make us feel better by causing spikes in our blood sugar level and stimulating the production of serotonin in our brains. Just like alcohol or drugs, refined carbs enable us to escape our negative emotions. If you are accustomed to using food to cope with anxiety or sadness, you’ll need new strategies for maintaining mental health that do not involve sugars and carbs. 

Preparing for your new lifestyle after weight-loss surgery

A long-term weight loss journey requires a commitment to healthy habits. You are embarking on a whole new lifestyle that necessitates a mindful approach to eating and exercise. 

Adjusting eating habits takes dedication. Overeating, eating out of boredom, and using food to deal with negative emotions are difficult habits to break unless you establish a long-term positive mindset. 

In addition, certain food rituals have been deeply ingrained in your social life. You will still eat holiday meals with your family and dine out with friends after your procedure as before, but the way you participate in these old habits will be slightly different, such as opting for less-sugary or carb-loaded options. Accepting these lifestyle changes in advance enables you to avoid slipping into negative emotions such as depression and feelings of isolation. 

After surgery, a commitment to regular exercise is essential to your long-term success. Physical activity promotes weight loss, and it is also proven to benefit you mentally as you adjust to your new lifestyle. 

One study in the journal Obesity documents the effects of 200 minutes of exercise each week on bariatric patients. The patients who incorporated physical activity into their routines lost an average of 13.2 more pounds and experienced less depression or anxiety than their non-active counterparts. Another study reveals that increased cardiopulmonary fitness equates to reduced depression after bariatric surgery.

Preparing for a lifelong journey after weight-loss surgery 

People call the first months after weight-loss surgery the “honeymoon period.” During this time, you will drop pounds easily, and you may not even feel hungry. This is the perfect time to institute the mindful eating habits and regular exercise routines that promote long-term success. 

When the honeymoon ends and the excitement wanes, however, your commitment and positive mindset must remain strong. Daily life is guaranteed to throw challenges into your path. Holiday celebrations may lure you into old eating habits. Regaining a few pounds may tempt you to slide into negativity. Stress may beckon you to escape through sugars or refined carbs. Only a positive mindset will enable you to overcome these challenges; be sure to anticipate them and have a support system on hand for when they arise.

Bariatric surgery is a powerful intervention, but your mindset ultimately determines your success or failure. Negative thoughts cause commitment to falter, depression convinces you that change is too difficult, and anxiety prevents you from trying new things. Only a long-term positive mindset enables you to obtain the outcome you want. 

Bariatric surgery is just the beginning. To learn more about the role of mental health in your lifelong weight-loss journey, contact the professionals at Blossom Bariatrics

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